In January we lost Maurice Shokatsu George who passed away peacefully after a short illness. He was 89 years old but very much younger in energy and attitude than his age suggests. A colourful and well-loved member of the Sangha and a frequent attender at the Liverpool Centre and retreats over the years, Maurice was already in his late seventies when he started to attend the Centre. He would regularly make the hour-long journey by public transport to join evening sittings. No mean achievement on winter evenings when the sofa and fire beckon. In later years he would travel with Keith Shingo. Keith got to know Maurice quite well and Maurice’s partner John asked Keith to officiate at the funeral service. Keith recalled during the service that many an intense dharma discussion would take place each week on the journey home from Liverpool to Ormskirk and that Maurice rarely gave an inch! John was also pleased that StoneWater was represented by Keith and myself at the funeral as Buddhist practice had been a major part of Maurice’s life for many years, both with StoneWater and previously with Triratna. I will end with a quote from Maurice’s ‘farewell message’.
“Another totally unexpected event came with my discovery of Buddhism. This happened like a bolt from the blue. As a life-long atheist, humanist, socialist and antireligious ideologist, I was fixed in my ways. But this sudden insight took the wind out of my sails. I had a whole new world to explore and examine. The change in my life was total. So would I be rash enough to offer any advice at this late stage in my life? This Zen quote might be useful to someone: ‘Life and death are of supreme importance: Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost, Let us strive to awaken, awaken, take heed, Do not squander your lives.’